Eyjafjallajökull

  • Iceland's best-known volcano nowadays is by far Eyjafjallajökull.
    Iceland's best-known volcano nowadays is by far Eyjafjallajökull.

Iceland's best-known volcano nowadays is by far Eyjafjallajökull. This unpronounceable volcano completely covered by an ice cap spreads some 100 square km. It last erupted in 2010 grabbing the world's attention as it severely disturbed flight schedules in the Western World. Eyjafjallajökull is a stratovolcano and stands 1651 m at its highest point and has a crater of 3-4 km in diameter, open towards the north. The mountain's south face was once part of Iceland's Atlantic coastline but across the millenniums the ocean has retreated leaving sheer cliffs to display magnificent waterfalls.

Iceland's favorite hiking trail into the highlands passes between Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull. It starts by Skógafoss and ends in Þórsmörk and provides an excellent view of the new lava and the glacial cap. The trail was closed down for some time after the eruption but has been reopened much to the Icelander's joy.

Eyjafjallajökull has a troubled history with aircraft. In 1952, a U.S. rescue plane, carrying five aboard, crashed into the icecap. One died instantly, but the other four survived only to perish on the vast glacier. Twelve years later one body was found and a ring from another. The glacier tongue delivered the last three bodies in 1966. Then, in 1966 an American couple crashed into the icecap and was instantly killed.